The Cleveland Cavaliers made a rather surprising move Sunday afternoon, waiving defensive wing Deandre Liggins to create a roster spot. After waiving Liggins, the Cavaliers immediately turned to another defensive-minded player in Dahntay Jones, as the team will sign him for the rest of the season.

What Dahntay Jones brings

Ironically, Jones was signed by the Cavaliers a game before the playoffs last year and will sign with two games remaining for the post-season this year. He won a championship with Cleveland last season, playing 15 games and averaging 1.1 points in the playoffs.

Jones provides veteran leadership, energy, and toughness off the bench. He is a defensive pest, who plays physical defense. Liggins was a defensive player as well, but Jones is familiar with the system and has more experience, making him a more suitable option for the Cavs.

Other option

The Cavaliers were also reportedly eyeing Anderson Varejao as a replacement for Liggins, but they decided to strengthen their wing instead of the frontcourt. Since the team most recently attained Larry Sanders, they probably felt no need to sign Varejao.

The Cavaliers roster is now set at 15, as they prepare for the playoffs. The team most likely signed Jones in the wake of their defensive struggles. Cleveland is still ranked 21st in defensive efficiency, which is horrible for a team that is championship caliber. They are hoping Jones would help improve that end of the floor during the playoffs when it matters most.

Recent collapse

The Cavaliers’ recent collapse against the Atlanta Hawks was disappointing. They lost to the Hawks on Friday even though Atlanta’s starters rested and lost to the Hawks again on Sunday after Atlanta outscored them, 44-18, in the fourth quarter.

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Cleveland’s defense has obviously been soft, which makes Jones’ signing justifiable. The Cavs are probably hoping the 36-year-old veteran could make an impact as Lance Stephenson has for the Indiana Pacers by providing a spark off the bench with his defensive intensity.

Jones’ role

However, Jones will most likely play behind J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert but may still find some minutes if the team’s defense is looking soft. Ultimately, he will be a final option for Tyronn Lue in case the team needs a wake-up call.

Jones should be officially signed on Monday and should be available for the final two games of the regular season. As the season is coming to a close, the Cavaliers will need all the help they can get since they’ve been slumping.

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